June 2016 SRG General Meeting minutes

Date: June 1, 2016

Location: Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic Church, 1919 S. 7th St.

The meeting was called to order at 7:04 p.m. by SRG President Bill Clendenin

Board members in attendance: Beth Bennett, Bill Clendenin, Luann Denten, Venessa Kobrin, Jackie Parker, Scott Plackemeier, Neil Putz, Alicia Stellhorn, Gary Toribio, Mike Ziemann, Christopher Schwarz (Treasurer-Elect)

Board members absent: Wade Weistreich

Elected officials present: Aldermen Ken Ortmann and Jack Coatar and City Treasurer Tishaura Jones

New members: Jake Dorman, one of the two new owners of the commercial space formerly known as Cuz. The new restaurant is the 7th Street Bar and Grill, 1530 S. 7th Street. He discussed the renovations to the building and the move to a family atmosphere that airs sports. The establishment also has a golf cart to shuttle patrons to and from Cardinals games.

April and May minutes
Motion to approve the April and May minutes was made by Christopher Schwarz, Jill Weissgerber seconded. The April and May minutes were approved.

Motion to approve the Treasurer’s Report was made by Jill Weissgerber, Ken Ortmann seconded. The April and May Treasurer’s Report was approved.

Police Report
1. April 2016
a. 3 assaults, one domestic, no burglaries, one robbery (carjacking) with 3 victims. Two of the suspects were wearing masks. Two of the suspects were found, as was the car. The masks and weapons were recovered. The car-jacking was at 9th and Allen. The bound is currently set at cash only. 3 stolen cars, two of which the keys were left in the vehicles. 4 larcenies, 18 car break-ins. A larceny occurred at 1860s where a woman’s purse was stolen from the table.

b. A word of caution was given to not leave purses or cell phones out on the table unattended.

2. May 2016
a. 5 assaults, 3 domestic. 6 stolen autos, 1 motorcycle, one of the vehicles was left running. 1 robbery, suspects asked for money and forcibly took it, the suspects fled. 2 burglaries, one vacant building 3300 s 7th. 14 larcenies, 4 of which were car break-ins. Officer Min highlighted a few: Tires removed from vehicle on S 13th Street. Another, the victim was moving into a new apartment and while moving realized that his wallet, containing $200.00, was missing. Officer Min issued a caution to not hire people you do not know. An arrest occurred at 1300 Sidney on 5/7. The suspect was exposing himself to the victim and masturbating. He has a history of robberies. The suspect lives on Sidney and Officer Min will be following through with the court case.

b. Paul Kjorlie asked “How many crimes are brought to the neighborhood as a result of the bars?” He said that he has asked this question multiple times in the past without a sufficient answer. He suggested that Officer Min track statistics from this point on for the purpose of identifying “how much crime in Soulard is bar related.” Officer Min said that he reviews every report related to Soulard and that there are a variety of crimes that are related to bars but that it would be hard to actually track victims and crimes directly related to bars. Officer Min also said that the city was researching crime and the Social House. Officer Min said that, in an attempt to keep him presentation concise, the format of his report would cover the crime categories and that he can provide more specific information offline to Paul.

Tishaura Jones, City Treasurer

The City Treasurer, Tishaura Jones, visited to provide information from 2013 to present. She also serves as the parking supervisor. Her office upgraded all of the meters and removed about 2300 meters that were not bringing in any income. Those 2300 spaces now have no meters. The handout provided also had the information for the application to pay for parking on the smartphone. There is also a specific center for spots related to the convention center and parking consoles offer additional payment methods for those spots. The office is also the chief cash management and investment office for the city. She indicated that they have started direct deposit for the city employees. They opened the office in City Hall, Room 220, which provided financial education and information for the citizens of St. Louis. The citizens of St. Louis had a high rate of families that were unbanked or underbanked and the Treasurer’s office is working to educate and reduce that number. The office has also initiated a program with opens a savings account for children in St. Louis who graduated kindergarten and deposited $50.00. The first $50 of those accounts were provided by the parking fees (e.g., tickets, fines) paid to the city. 2341 children are currently participating in this program. The Treasurer’s office is currently attempting to enroll 3100 participants for next year. The treasurer is currently running unopposed in the upcoming elections.

She credited her team and staff for all the success and projects that she has been able to accomplish during this term.

New business
1. The budget was presented, as per the bylaws, to the general membership at this meeting.
a. Motion to approve the SRG 2016-2017 Operating Budget made by Richard Eaton, Jill Weissgerber seconded. The SRG 2016-2017 Operating Budget was approved.

b. No questions regarding the budget were asked and Bill Clendenin relayed that if questions arose in the future, members were able to contact Bill or any of the board members and/or committee chairs.

2. Tom Burnham reported Tony Mill was the officer assigned to the neighborhood was diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer. He is currently undergoing chemotherapy and radiation. Sunday, July 31, there will be a benefit at the old Garfield elementary gymnasium. Local Soulard bands will be performing. Tom hopes to have fliers out by the July General Membership meeting next month. They are requesting local restaurants to contribute in the form of finger foods and/or small plates for the event.

Legion Report

Mr. Bill Wirtel said that May was a very busy month. They had a Leadership Academy flagpole installed and the first flag raised. The ceremony was tremendous. The third Friday family happy hours are continuing and new musicians are being introduced. Over 118 people attended the Legionnaire of the Year installation ceremony. Flags were handed out at the Soulard Farmers Market with the largest amount raised to date. He thanked attendees of the Memorial Day BBQ.

Luann Denten asked who was named the Legionnaire of the Year and the room recognized Mr. Bill as the Legionnaire of the Year. Mr. Bill received a rousing standing ovation and thanked the room at large.

Soulard Business Association Vice President Ted Greenfield gave the report. Sample Soulard Sunday is happening on June 12, it is a 28 bar event and sampling, it is not like the Taste of Soulard in that there are seven tickets for food and drinks, the drinks are 3.5 oz pours of craft beer. There will be two trollies operating in opposite directions throughout the event. The Soulard Concert Series runs July 11th to Sept. 17. These are also referred to as “free concerts in the park.”

Gary Toribio the MGI board had a workshop May 1. They went through all the Mardi Gras events and brainstormed. The parade was specifically mentioned. The budget for next year is also up for approval and the budget is set for approval at the June 9 meeting. The Frenchtown Dog Park was awarded the Nestle Dream grant and there is a GoFundMe to match funds raised up to $7,500.

Committee Reports

Bill Clendenin thanked Alicia Stellhorn for all the work that she has put into the budget for the last two years and recognized her work as the outgoing Treasurer.

Beautification (Richard Eaton)

1. Beautification had a busy month. On May 17, 82 volunteers from Purina worked, for the third year, in three local parks: Abussie Park, Pontiac Square Park and the Soulard Market. Beth Bennett served as the leader and was thanked for her hours of volunteering and exceptional work. The closing ceremony had 1,800-2,000 Purina volunteers who volunteered throughout the city.

2. The May 24 Beautification Fundraiser at Molly’s raised $9,600. Eaton thanked all the members, residents and businesses who participated and contributed to the event. Marybeth Wallace was the leader of the fundraiser and was thanked for her contribution of time and energy.

3. The Soulard Art and Garden Tour is June 25 and Luann Denten is reprising her role as the chair. Nine gardens are being featured, each with live music and an artist. There will also be a wine garden. This is an opportunity to raise funds for the Beautification Committee while highlighting Soulard and its residents.

Communication (Jackie Parker)
The Soulard Renaissance editor Jackie Parker thanked all contributors to the garden tour issue and said the issue will available in hardcopy and online. If you are not receiving the Blaster on Wednesday, you can provide you email and you will be added to the list.

Code and Zoning (Jay Gibbs)
1. South 7th and Victor streets development
a. The Plan Review Team (PRT) looked at the plans 7-8 weeks ago with Betsy Bradley (who just moved to Wyoming) and approved the preliminary plans. There is currently opposition to those plans and the initial building permit was denied and was appealed on June 8. The specifics of the appeal were unknown at the time of the general meeting. The hearing was in Room 208 at City Hall, 1:30 p.m. and the public was welcome to attend.

b. Parking was an issue raised regarding this development project. The current standards are .75 parking spaces per 1 unit for rehabs and 1 parking space per 1 unit for new builds.

c. It was unknown whether the developer had sought tax abatement or any other public assistance. An additional concern raised was the current zoning of the building and whether or not the developer would have to apply to have the building rezoned as residential space.

d. The appeal process for the denial of the permit includes presentation before a panel. The architect who is appealing the denial of the permit currently sits on the appeal board. Alderman Jack Coatar said that the architect of the project will be recusing himself for decisions made on the issue directly related to his building.

e. Jay Gibbs clarified that the PRT committee did not include the SRG Board in the initial approvals for the South 7th and Victor streets development project and said that, in hindsight, he should have.

2. Several SRG members raised concerns regarding the density of the South 7th and Victor streets development project as well as other high-density developments being proposed within the neighborhood. Jay Gibbs clarified the process of the PRT in relation to the SRG General Membership and the SRG Board.

a. Currently the PRT reviews for the historic aspects and zoning of development projects.

b. The SRG Board does not currently vote on individual development projects but relies on the recommendation of the PRT.

c. The SRG General membership does not have a mechanism, as a body, to issue support or opposition to any given development project.

3. A second large apartment project is being proposed for 1400 Russell Blvd. West of South 13th Street and east of Interstate 55. It is an L-shaped building.

a. The board was brought into this issue and a meeting was held with the zoning committee, the board and the developers. The development company is using Trivers architectural firm.

b. Gibbs otherwise would not have supported this project but the preparedness and presentation was “exceedingly well thought out.”

i. 126 unit project, 2/3 of the units are 1 bedroom ($900/month), 1/3 of the units are 2 bedroom ($1200/month), subterranean parking with more than 1 space per unit, clubhouse and rooftop swimming pool.

ii. The corner of South 13th Street and Russell Boulevard would be an artisanal restaurant, seating around 45.

iii. The Hat Factory is being used as the model example. The first renderings of the current development project were thought to be too modern.

4. Our neighborhood does not have a strategic plan at this time. It was proposed to create one many years ago, but none was created. Lafayette Square spent around $120,000 on the components required for their strategic plan.

5. There is not an official, coordinated, single source mechanism for dissemination of development project information between the PRT, SRG Board and SRG General Membership. There are several mechanisms (e.g., NextDoor, The Blaster, The Renaissance, SRG meeting, Facebook, etc) which are unofficial and uncoordinated . It was suggested that the SRG website be used as the official repository for public information regarding development projects and all related plans, hearings, etc.

6. The SRG Board meeting on June 15th will address density issues and will go more in-depth regarding the density issue. There are many differing views and projects are currently addressed project by project.

Fundraising (Jackie Parker)
No report

Membership (Jill Weissgerber)
The annual SRG trip to Gateway Grizzlies is Saturday, July 30. Tickets are $35 and include a shuttle to and from Molly’s, drinks (beer, wine and margaritas) and food at the game. Immediate SRG Past President Mike Ziemann will be throwing out the first pitch.

Residential Promotion (Luann Denten)
Denten thanked everybody for coming out to the latest local hour at the South Broadway Athletic Club (SBAC). Another $600 worth of Soulard merchandise was sold during last month’s membership drive at the Great Grizzly Bear. A reorder will be placed soon. Let Denten know if you want anything. Friday, July 15, is Marie’s Last Dance (dance party and fashion show). Saturday will gather the mob, parade them through the streets and cut off their heads. They will also announce the new Soulard royals. Ballots and information are available upon request. You can nominate and Soulardian to be a Soulard royal.

There was no specific report given. The camera project is in the final stages of finalizing. At the beginning of the project it was thought that the cameras would be installed at this point however the coordination between the SRG, the City and the police has delayed installation. This is not a negative issue as the process is methodical and the placement of the cameras is of the utmost importance.

Motion to adjourn made by Julie Dinklemann, Christopher Schwarz seconded and the meeting adjourned at 8:16 p.m.